- Number 426 |
- November 10, 2014
When scientists at the Korea Supercomputing Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) facility needed a crucial new component, they turned to engineer Bob Ellis of DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. His task: Design a water-cooled fixed mirror that can withstand high heat loads for up to 300 seconds while directing microwaves beamed from launchers to heat the plasma that fuels fusion reactions.
Ellis, who had designed mirrors without coolant for shorter experiments, decided to try out a novel manufacturing process called 3D printing that produces components as unified wholes with minimal need for further processing. 3D printing would enable the mirror to be built for less cost than a non-water-cooled mirror produced by conventional manufacturing, Ellis said, “and that was a very nice thing to find out about.”
Selective and reactive, metal-organic frameworks or MOFs could replace inefficient materials in batteries, catalysts, solid-state heat pumps, and other products where gas separation and storage are vital. While scientists knew how to synthesize MOFs, they didn't know the details of the reactive steps that occurred during assembly of the framework. Now, a trio of scientists at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) determined the individual reactions and the energy needed at each step to form the basic unit of a popular MOF, MIL-101.
The team took a computation- and simulation-based approach that allowed them to delve into the intricacies of the reaction sequence that creates the short-lived intermediate molecules that form the MOF building blocks. Understanding those steps is vital to eventually being able to synthesize the materials by the boxcar, not the test tube.
Researchers at DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory have completed the first known experiment which visualized the internal breakage of a shale fracture during shearing. Shale fractures were mechanically sheared such that the rough fracture faces moved parallel to each other while an external confining pressure was applied. This fracture shearing is commonly believed to be a critical mechanism for fracture evolution in the subsurface during hydraulic fracturing and other high-stress events, but numerical models rely on simplified models to describe this behavior.
A nuclear device has been hidden in a high-rise building in a major metropolitan area. Emergency responders have intelligence that narrows down the location to a single city block, but it isn’t safe to search door-to-door. Can they identify the exact location of the device quickly without the culprits realizing a search is on?
The answer is a definite yes. A mobile imager of neutrons for emergency responders (MINER) system from DOE's Sandia National Laboratories did just that at an emergency response exercise in downtown Chicago earlier this year. The exercise used a sealed laboratory radiation source that mimics the radioactive signature of more nefarious material.
“The system performed exactly as we expected,” said Sandia physicist John Goldsmith. “With an unshielded source, we pinpointed the location within 30 minutes. With more shielding, it took a couple of hours.”
A new approach to carbon capture technology from DOE's Savannah River National Laboratory has the potential to open global markets for cost-effective industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and reuse.
The technology can capture CO2 emissions from industry, and also use the gas to enhance oil collection in an environmentally safe manner. The new process overcomes the significant cost limitations of standard separation and concentration methods.
“This is a new aqueous approach to carbon capture that uses standard processes and components in a novel configuration,” explained SRNL Principal Technical Advisor Gerald Blount. “The process is non-hazardous, carbon-neutral, scalable and easier to implement than competing capture systems”